Admittedly obscure, probably because it is not one of his self-termed "blockbuster" productions, Brad Armstrong's "Checkmate" made in collaboration with star Dyanna Lauren entertained me more than a hundred of his other famous and not so famous movies.
That's because it is creative, concise and accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, rather than morphing into some elephantine "big-deal" for Wicked Pictures to use as a tent-pole release, just like the eyes-glued-to-the bottom line mainstream major studios.
Sharing writing and directing credits, Lauren & Brad have taken the format of a chess board and game and brought the pieces to life in a series of vignettes in which Kings, Queens, Knights and others do battle -more of a sexual nature than violent but still deadly to the defeated. For me it was a daring and surprisingly successful concept, much better than a '60s sci-fi novel by John "Stand on Zanzibar" Brunner trying the same thing in a different medium, titled "The Squares of the CIty".
Casting is top-notch, with Lauren stunning (her figure is awesome) as the White Queen and Anna Malle spectacular as the Black Queen, even looking a lot like Geena Davis did when this was shot 23 years ago.
In lesser assignments Kaitlyn Ashley, an uninhibited Yvonne and Debbie Diamond give super sexual performances, and casting iconic Lesbian star Felecia in Sapphic sex opposite Dyanna can't be beat.
Another creative element is using guest star Venus Delight as the show's host, looking fabulous in a topless opening scene performing her fire-eating act. For me this video, reissued on DVD a few years later by Vivid's Wave subsidiary, vindicates Brad's occasional work in non-narrative (read: all-sex) mode, though he is more famous for his rather ponderous storytelling features.
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